Hattiesburg’s Disabled American Veteran’s Chapter 62 hosts VetFest 2023

VetFest held at Town Square Park in Hattiesburg
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 7:32 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - On Armed Forces Day—which honors all branches of the military—The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 62 hosted VetFest in Town Square Park in Hattiesburg.

Co-Chair for VetFest 2023 and DAV member Mark Jordan said this was the second year the organization has hosted the event.

“You know, with Hattiesburg being a very heavy veteran community with Camp Shelby being around and a lot of retirees here, this is a perfect base of operations,” Jordan said. “We’ve had outstanding support from our city government, City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County Board of Supervisors, as well as sponsors and community partners really throughout all the state.”

Saturday’s event brought together veteran-owned businesses, veteran service providers, food trucks, live music and more.

Co-Chair for VetFest 2023 and DAV member Mark DeShields said veterans could take advantage of many benefits available, even those they may not know about.

“There’s a lot of information that veterans just don’t know about, so, our goal (Saturday was) get them all in one central location so they can get this information, walk from station to station and get all that they need,” DeShields said.

Many of the event goers said it was important to offer support to veterans in the community.

Retired Army veteran Alvin Smith said this event is something near and dear to his heart.

“Veterans leave home and they come back broken up or deceased or whatever the case may be,” Smith said. “This means a lot to me to walk around here and see veterans and I see a lot of people down from the Camp Shelby area and the youth challenge group.”

Youth Challenge Academy member Jenevieve Settlemoir said she loved seeing “the support we have for our veterans because they really made our nation what it is today and they really helped us out.”

Youth Challenge Academy Foxtrot Platoon member Kel Davis said it’s important to give support to veterans.

“The world we live in today, there’s not a lot of love and positivity, and we can at least give something back to the people who put their lives on the line for us,” Davis said. “That can be a piece of the puzzle to make the world a better place.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about honoring veterans for their service, veteran Alvin Smith said.

“Tears come to my eyes every time Veterans Day, Memorial Day come up and stuff like this,” Smith said. “Just know to go out and say, ‘Thank you for your service, thank you for your service,’ because they have no idea what we went through and what we are still going through.”

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